War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0336 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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WINCHESTER, March 25, 1862.

Please communicate the following to the general commanding the Army:

I am prostrate from wounds, but hope in a few days to be able to ride in a buggy at the head of my command. General Banks is at Strasburg with my division and part of his own; the rest en route to join. He was not able to overtake the enemy. The retreat was a flight. He informs me he means to pursue to Mount Jackson. Rumor makes the re-enforcements now joining Jackson 30,000. He is said to be fortifying at Rude's Hill, between Mount Jackson and New Market, at a point almost unapproachable from this side, and which communicates with the main body under Johnston by a good turnpike through Turet [Luray?], Washington, Springville [Sperryville?], and Culpeper Court-House.

Our prisoners speak with confidence of their strength in front of us and of their immense force on the march to avenue their defeat. I can hardly believe this, but I give it for what it is worth. I am compelled to expend too much of my force in protection to railroad and routes in my rear against guerrilla bands now infesting the country. My cavalry is not efficient in the field, and I mean to employ it principally for this purpose. I sorely need a body of efficient cavalry to feel the enemy in front. I dare not hazard mine in an enterprise of this kind. If the commanding general can give me any information about the exact position of the enemy it would aid us in calculating our movements. Our killed is about 150*; the enemy's 350. Our wounded between 300 and 400*; the enemy's nearly 1,000. I feel distressed at his being able to carry off so many of his guns and baggage. His retreat has been ably conducted. Our men were too much exhausted from fatigue and want of food to convert it into a flight in time. Any information about the enemy will be of great service to us. We are constructing telegraph line to Strasburg, and will keep you constantly advised of movements.

JAS. SHIELDS,

Brigadier-General.

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, Seminary.

WINCHESTER, VA., March 25, 1862.

SIR: Knowing your anxiety, I venture to give you a few particulars, without waiting to send it through superior officers. Jackson attacked my division, composed of between 7,000 and 8,000 men, close to Winchester, on the morning of the 23rd. The prisoners, differ as to the strength of his force; supposed to be absolutely 11,000-the flower of the Southern Army. The battle lasted until night. I was unable, from a wound received the evening before, to leave my bed, where I still lie, and had to direct operations in that condition. The fight between the infantry on both sides was terrible. The enemy disputed every inch of ground, and when they gave way did so in order. Notwithstanding the terrible havoc made in the ranks by the destructive fire of our Western men the slightest evidence of panic never appeared amongst them. No infantry ever behaved better than ours, with the exception of the two Pennsylvania regiments. At night the enemy fell back,

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*See revised statement, p.346.

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